Step aside Marco Melandri, because Alvaro Bautista just stole your seat in the factory Ducati World Superbike team. Announcing his signing today at the British GP, the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team will have Bautista within its ranks for the year.
Additionally, Chaz Davies has signed up again to be on the Ducati Corse squad, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone in the paddock.
Both Davies and Bautista will ride on the new Ducati Panigale V4 superbike, which will make its first proper racing debut in the 1,000cc format next year.
The street model for this machine has yet to be seen, though we have caught glimpses of the test mule for the race bike making laps around various circuits – and it has shown astonishing speed in the process.
With the signing of Bautista and the re-signing of Davies, Ducati has put together a strong team for the 2019 World Superbike Championship.
The Italian manufacturer means business for next season, as it hopes to bring to an end its draught of WorldSBK Championship victories.
“For me next season will be a new challenge because I will move from this Championship – after 16 years – and I will move to World Superbike with Aruba Ducati official team,” said Bautista during today’s British GP press conference.
“I’m so motivated, it’s a new challenge for me. I think the confidence Ducati put in me is really good and together we are very strong. I think we can get a good result there and have good fun, it’s a Championship that’s growing, so I look forward to this new challenge and I will also try to enjoy my last races in the MotoGP™ Championship.”
Ducati will have tough competition next year in WorldSBK though. The duo of Rea and Haslam on the Kawasaki is the benchmark to beat, and the PATA Yamaha squad of Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark is looking stronger each round.
With a new BMW S1000RR coming, as well as updates to the Honda CBR1000RR and Aprilia RSV4 RF, there could be surprises next year in the WorldSBK paddock.
Source: Ducati Corse